Please keep in mind that any of the programs mentioned can be changed according to your desire !
Day 1: Bucharest Tour
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. The morning will start with a tour of Bucharest.
Bucharest has been, in recent years, in a continuous change, becoming one of the coolest cities to visit in Europe. Winter in the city brings a magical atmosphere and many season fair in all the markets. Here you can find the magic of the holidays, whilst enjoying a cup of hot traditional wine or brandy, some home made cookies and sweets, or just sit and admire the many traditional carolers who are trying to make us remember of the countryside holidays from when we were young.
The best perspective of Bucharest (also known as The Little Paris of the East), the capital of Romania, will be shown to you by this tour, with a view of the Palace of the Parliament, the Revolution Square, Cotroceni Quarter and a visit of the Romanian Village Museum.
Lunch will be on your own, but our guides will gladly recommend and transfer you to the best restaurants of the capital city. The tour starts with a morning pick up at 9 am, from your hotel lobby and includes visits to:
Palace of the Parliament: known as the House of the People (in communist times) is the second largest building in the world. It was constructed at the end of the 1980’s, together with the grand boulevards in the downtown area. For it’s construction, 21 churches, 40.000 houses and 1 stadium were demolished. The inside is worthy of a 19th century palace, all the rooms being marble plated, with silk tapestries and 2800 chandeliers estimated building in the world, made entirely using Romanian work force and materials.
The Village Museum: showing traditional Romanian households from centuries ago, it is the second largest outdoor museum of Europe. Each individual house comes from a different area of Romania, making this museum special, as the visitors get a good perspective of Romania, while still not leaving Bucharest.
The Patriarchal Church: as the main church of the country, one can say it is the equivalent of the Vatican for the Catholic Church. The 400 year old church shows a great frescoes of the Judgment Day on its front wall, while the inside has gold decoration worthy of the most important church of the country. Next to it is also the splendid building of the old parliament of Romania.
Between these landmarks, you will see the beautiful Victory Avenue, oldest boulevard of the city. In the center stop to hear about Revolution Square, the place from where Nicolae Ceausescu held his famous last speech. The memorial and nearby buildings still bear the scars of the bullets fired in December 1989. Also drive alongside the Dambovita River, heading to the Military Academy, where the communist made bas-relief will show the strong propaganda of those days. In the large square in front of this monument, lots of people from the area come to enjoy one the most famous Christmas markets in the city. The villagers who come here are famous for their great local and home made products, ranging from smoked meats and pastrami, all the way to pickles and seasonal sweets. It is a must see for anyone who wants to load up with snacks for their trip.
December always give Bucharest a great feeling. The decorations along the main boulevards always give the city a new look and this makes a visit in this time much more special. In the evening, you can opt for a pick up by your guide and a walk through the historic Lipscani area. You will arrive in the University Square, the heart of the city, where our beautiful Christmas market will treat you to great local products: traditional pound cake, warm wine and brandy, smoked meats and cheeses. There is always a group of carolers and listening to their traditional songs in this magic atmosphere will make you fall in love with Christmas in Romania.
Day 2: Bucharest Surroundings Tour Mogosoaia Palace – Snagov Monastery December 20th
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Int the morning you will depart for the surroundings of the city, where you will visit the two beautiful sights of Snagov Monastery Monastery and Mogosoaia Palace .
We will depart north, for a 30km drive to Mogosoaia Palace , the home of the kings of Walachia in the 18th century. It still shows all the original structures and gardens, surrounded by beautiful lakes and forests. Enjoy the interior visit of the villa, full of traditional rugs from 300 years ago. Mogosoaia Palace shows how the Wallachian aristocracy lived in the 17th century. Only 20 minutes outside of the city one finds jewels of typical Romanian Architecture, but full of history and meaning. The palace is the best example of the national architectural style, Brancovenesc style. The large garden here becomes a fairy tale land in winter, as it is very ornately decorated and the local bands of carrolers are always present to fill the frozen parks with their songs.
Continue to Snagov Monastery, only 25 minutes away. It is the legendary burial place of Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Dracula) , although his grave is empty to this day. The monastery is on an island of a lake, in the middle of one of the biggest forests around Bucharest. The walk there will show you great wildlife and flora. It was first built by Vlad the Impaler ( Vlad Dracula) during his rule.
In the afternoon, our guide will pick you up from your hotel and take you towards the most beautiful park of the city, Cismigiu park. This 300 year old German style garden is a landmark in the winter scenery of Bucharest. The lake in the middle of it is transformed every year into a great outdoor ice skating ring. The people of Bucharest always come together in this place, to enjoy some good music, sports and the traditional Christmas products. Feeling cold on the ice? That is not a problem, as there is always a warm wine or brandy shop nearby, or maybe just a hot chocolate or tea.
Overnight accommodation in Bucharest 3 or 4 * hotel.
Day 3: Transylvania in 1 Day December 21th
In this 1 day tour, one gets to visit 3 of the best Regions of Romania: the beautiful flatlands of Walachia, with the rustic villages and locals selling their produce roadside, the impressive Prahova Valley, with it’s 2500 meters high mountains and Transylvania, a land with 800 years of Saxon heritage.
On route to Transylvania, you first stop will be in the heart of the Prahova Valley. Here the high mountains (third highest peak of Romania) make for great skying, but also for amazing views. Nicknamed the Alps of Romania, they are the only mountains which rise from 800 meters to 2500 meters in one vertical cliff. Here is where you find the jewel of the romanian mountain resorts, Sinaia. In this 400 year old town is Peles Castle. The palace is our first visit. Erected between 1873 and 1914, has been the summer residence of the Romanian Royal family and it is the most visited museum in Romania. Many say that this alone is worth a visit in Romania.
Next we will continue north and across the Carpathian Mountains. At the entrance in Transylvania Bran Castle will meet us. This castle (a 14th century military fortress controlling the entry route to Transylvania) is nowadays frequently associated with Vlad Dracula’s myth. The interior visit will take you back to the time of the Saxon nights, as you will follow the narrow stairways and Gothic arches through the castle. After the visit guests must not miss the great atmosphere in the outdoor markets surrounding the castle. Here is the best time for souvenirs. The Christmas period gives this outdoor bazaar a great feeling. All the villages from the nearby area bring their local, seasonal products. This area of Transylvania is famous for it’s great smoked cheeses and local spirits. Plus, the Saxon heritage in the villages give a new twist to the Christmas traditions. The local bands of Carolers, of which many children, come to perform within the castle walls, for the delight of the visitors.
Afterwards we will drive to the 800 year old Saxon city of Brasov. A fortified town that was once on the silk road entering Europe. Visit the Black Church, the largest church in Eastern Europe, holding the biggest pipe organ of Romania (4000 pipes) and largest collection of oriental rugs (over 600). Stop for a walk in Brasov downtown, just to show you how a typical Transylvanian old city looked like. The Council Square of Brasov is always transformed by the cold season. Every year, Brasov tries to put together the most beautiful Christmas market of Transylvania, and for the last few years, they have had the tallest Christmas tree in the country. Have a walk around the market, enjoys some of the traditional smoked meats and cheeses and feel free to try the local spirits of wine, just in case the cold and the long day will make you tired. Or maybe take some for the trip back to Bucharest.